How to Save Space When Packing for a Move

Full article 14 min read
How to Pack Electronics for Moving

The most important aspect of moving is packing well. You should take all precautions to protect your belongings from the wear and tear of the long journey. It is an art that the professional movers and packers have mastered and hence can so well execute. It is also essential to know the packing technique for different items in the household. Saving space while packing makes it extremely cost-effective. There are many tips and tricks involved to help you pack efficiently when moving.

Why should you save space when packing for a house move?

The most common way to pack houses is in different sizes of cardboard. Their sturdiness and specific dimensions make them ideal for effectively packing your belongings. You might need many cartons, approximately 25-30 for a single room. The boxes are generally not cheap, so it is wiser to use the least number of boxes possible to accomplish your move. The more items you can fit in one carton, the lesser the quantity needed.

If you can save space while packing, it will result in lesser cartons used, and consequently, less packing material and liners will be required. You will save on boxes and labor costs by doing so. More boxes will need a larger truck, costing you more money. Lesser time will be needed to load and unload your vehicle, thus saving money on the loading staff who charge on an hourly basis.

Regardless of where you are moving to and what options you choose to execute your move, saving the box space will be lighter on your wallet.


How to pack to save space?

Cut the clutter

We all live with much more things than we need. It is very important to trim down your possessions. Purge, Purge, Purge!

Fewer things take lesser space. When moving, this motto should be kept in mind. Take out all your belongings and identify things you would not want to take with you to your new home. Be brave and let things go. Make different boxes for donation to charity, recycle, have a garage sale or online sales. You will be surprised as to how much stuff finds its way into the above-mentioned boxes. Fewer boxes mean less weight, less loading space, and less time is taken for loading. Besides saving space, you will be pleasantly surprised by making extra money on your stuff.

Nesting packing method

Nesting packing is one of the scientific packing methods. It works best when you need to compress your moving load. This packaging is based on Russian nesting dolls. Different size dolls are packed into one another, the smallest on the innermost and the biggest on the outermost. In the same pattern, you can nest your items into one another from smallest to largest. By using this method, you will save space and protect your belongings stacked inside. Many things can be nested into each other. Some examples are:

  • Pots and Pans, cups and bowls, hats and socks, lampshades, chairs, and similar items can be stacked one upon another for packing efficiency.
  • An array of containers from big to small can be stacked together. Don’t let any container travel empty to your new home.
  • The smallest container should be stacked inside. Also, pack kitchen items like spice bottles, toothpick holders, salt and pepper shakers, bottle openers, tea strainers, coasters, kitchen towels, napkins, etc.
  • Put your toiletries, cleaning products, clothes pegs, and small bathroom items into buckets and trash bins.
  • Fill your hats with small and soft clothing accessories. This will home small cloth items and save the shape of your hat at the same time. You can fill all the hollow spaces with small nick-nacks too.
  • The baby cradle can be home to all the baby toys, diapers, and baby bath products.
  • Stuff your socks in the shoes; this will help maintain the shoe shape and be home to an extra item in the house.
  • Pack your jewelry, small figurines, and delicate items into sunglass boxes.
  • Stuff oven mitts, towels, pillows, sponges, and any other soft items inside your washing machine and dryer.
  • Many items like bedsheets, blankets, and soft fabrics can be used as box liners. You will save on buying liners while utilizing your household items.

See Also: How to Start Packing to Move


Move suitcases and travel bags

Make sure you waste no space whatsoever when moving. Fill every bag, every suitcase, every pouch possible. These items are specifically designed to hold belongings, so use them wisely and to the utmost. A Suitcase, empty or full, will take the same space in the loading truck, so you might as well fill them with a few of your belongings. You can put fragile items packed with proper lining in hardcover suitcases. Rolling suitcases in and out of the loading truck is very easy too. You can also load heavy books in the bags as they get too bulky to be carried inboxes.

Layer the stacked items well

It is important to line your belongings well. Delicate things should be lined with fluffy sponges and blankets and packed snugly to avoid movement and breakage. Items that need extra protection have to be preferably wrapped individually and then stacked and packed for proper protection. Use liners from your household to save money on them. The extra sheets and towels used as liners will save packing space too.

Seal the top container with plastic wrap

When you stack different items inside a big container or use the Russian Doll method, you must ensure that the topmost container is properly sealed and will not topple even under pressure or movement. The best way to ensure that is to wrap and seal the top container.

Avoid stacking plates horizontally

Stacking plates horizontally with liners can be convenient and tempting, but avoid doing so. Horizontally stacked plates are highly prone to breakage. They also end up taking more space in the box. Arrange them vertically in a dish box primarily available to pack dinner sets.


Place heavier item at the bottom

This is a no-brainer; it is a law of physics that one needs to follow while packing, every time. We all know that heavier things above a lighter item will probably cause the lighter one to break. When you pack heavier items below, it also gives stability to your box. However, remember that you shouldn’t make your box so heavy that the loaders cannot move it. Make the right combination of heavy and light.

Pack lightweight, non-breakable items in drawers

Do not move your chest of drawers or any other drawers; totally empty. Moving them bare is a waste of space. Fill them with small items that are not so heavy and non-breakable, like stationery, scarves and ties, socks, etc. This way, you will utilize space cleverly and save on packaging material and boxes. The ideal way is to seal the drawers to conveniently pack and unpack. Wrap your drawer with towels or sheets for extra packing and protection. Do not forget to pack only non-breakable and lightweight stuff in the drawers.

Vacuum Bags

Compression bags, also called vacuum seal bags, are a great option to save space as they use technology to compress your things. Especially clothing and beddings. These bags are available and can be reserved for multiple usages. It works by putting your stuff inside the vacuum bag, which has a small nozzle on the side. Once the bag is full, you can seal it and attach the vacuum to the nozzle. All the air is sucked out of the bag, leaving it less than half of its original size after it was packed. The bags become lighter in weight and can be stacked anywhere in the loading truck. Vacuum bags are handy to pack stuff that is light in weight but high in volume, like duvets, blankets, pillows, soft toys, and woolens.


Rolling technique

When packing clothes in your suitcase or a box, roll each item and make them into logs instead of laying them flat. You will be surprised how space-efficient this technique is. When rolled, clothing items only take 50% of the space compared to flat folds. You can also use the nesting method here, roll thin clothes inside another set of clothes. For example, roll a light t-shirt inside your pair of jeans, you will realize the t-shirt hasn’t taken any space. Stack rolls of clothes in a suitcase or cubes. When closing your suitcase or cube, place larger lightweight items like pillows, soft toys, heavy clothes that cannot be rolled as a top layer. Make rolls of small clothes to fill gaps to provide additional cushioning in packing containers.

Use packing cubes

Packing cubes for clothes are highly efficient and space-saving. They help keep your clothes organized and compressed simultaneously, making the process of packing and unpacking easy. All you should do is, group your clothes into different stacks and fill them in the cubes. When stacked together, they will fit like a piece of a puzzle in the box because of their shape. Roll your clothes and place them in the cubes to save more space.

Bundle wrap your clothes

The way to use the bundle wrap technique is to start with a piece of clothing in the center and keep wrapping your clothes around it in layers to eventually turn it into a fat log. This way, your clothes stay compact, organized, and compressed at the same time, causing minor or no damage when moving. Bundle-wrapped clothes can fit snugly into your suitcase or cubes. Rolling your clothes saves more space than folding. It’s definitely worth the extra effort!

See Also: How To Pack Your Clothes For Moving


Space Saving Hacks

Ziploc bags

Ziploc bags in various sizes can be handy when packing your home and traveling. They are great for filling small pieces, like small wires, cables, and miscellaneous items from assorted drawers. Also, use them to save family photographs or other documents.

Packing Belts

Wrapping your belt inside the collar of your shirt will save space and also keep the collar of the shirt stiff. Another good suggestion is to wrap the belt around the perimeter of the suitcase. This way, it will consume no space at all.

Dryer Sheets

If you’re packing for a humid climate, dryer sheets will help your clothes stay fresh. They also repel insects, so you can wipe your clothes with the dryer sheet to keep those pesky insects away if you don’t have room for bug spray.


Packing may seem like the most challenging part of the move. It would be best to try to do it with dexterity and awareness, which could save you a lot of space. You can save a lot of money on boxes and packing material, moving trucks, and hourly loaders.

See Also: Self-Packing vs. Professional Packing


What is Nesting Packing Technique?

It is one of the scientific packing methods. Nesting packing works best when you need to compress your moving load. This packaging is based on Russian nesting dolls. Different size dolls are packed into one another, the smallest on the innermost and the biggest on the outermost. In the same pattern, you can nest your items into one another from smallest to largest. By using this method, you will save space and protect your belongings stacked inside. Many things can be nested into each other.

See Also: What is the best packing material for moving?


What are travel Packing cubes?

Travel packing cubes are the handiest luggage organizers. They maximize the space in your bag by keeping your clothes a bit more compressed, meaning you can fit more into your luggage. Also, due to the building-block shape of the cubes, they’re easy to stack and fit neatly into every available inch of your pack.

How many weeks before moving should I pack my house?

3 Weeks Before Moving: Small decor items should get packed. Organize paintings, fine china, and any other decorative items early. They’ll require extra time to pack and bubble wrap! 2 Weeks Before Moving: Once storage areas and decorations are all packed, move to bonus rooms.

Written by

Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.